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Redbird legacy: Five sisters forge decades-long bond with ISU

The Hynd sisters include, from left, Mary Schrock ’82, Eileen Saksa ’84, Patricia Scott ’86, Karen Fitzgerald ’88, and Janet Gibson ’91. Seated is Patricia’s son, Alex, beginning his sophomore year. Not included are Cliff Schrock ’81 and Christopher Saksa ’16.

The Hynd sisters include, from left, Mary Schrock ’82, Eileen Saksa ’84, Patricia Scott ’86, Karen Fitzgerald ’88, and Janet Gibson ’91. Seated is Patricia’s son, Alex, beginning his sophomore year. Not included are Cliff Schrock ’81 and Christopher Saksa ’16.

Mary (Hynd) Schrock ’82 grew up in Moline with five sisters. Four of them followed her to Illinois State, creating a strong family legacy that deepened further when two of their children also chose to attend the University.

Accepted at two Iowa universities, Mary ultimately decided to study in Illinois. ISU rose to the top, and she enrolled as an English major. “I worked at the Vidette, which is where I met my husband,” Mary said. Cliff Schrock ’81, was also an English major.

Mary’s memories of happy campus moments include sharing a dorm room with her sister, Eileen (Hynd) Saksa ’84, an education major. “She roomed with me for one semester, just to help her get acclimated,” Mary recalled.

That sisterly help was continued down the line of siblings, as Eileen was still enrolled when Patricia (Hynd) Scott ’86 came to ISU to study elementary education. Patricia had not yet graduated when the next sister, Karen (Hynd) Fitzgerald ’88 became an accounting major. The last of the sisters to graduate was Janet (Hynd) Gibson ’91, who studied administrative systems and office technology.

“There was always an overlap. They all felt it was the best school in the state,” Mary said, with the location a perfect distance from their Moline home. “We are a very close family, so it was awesome.”

The bond strengthened when Eileen’s son, Christopher, also chose Illinois State. He graduated in 2016 with a degree in organizational and leadership communication. The family currently has another member enrolled, as Alex is entering his sophomore year as a criminal justice major. He is the son of Patricia.

The campus bond is one special way the sisters stay connected, as they are now scattered across the country. Mary is in Connecticut; Janet in Florida; and Eileen, Karen, and Patricia live across Illinois.

“We have such great memories,” Mary said, noting that each sister had plenty to share as the cousins began their own Redbird experience.

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